FORGET St Valentine - if you're Welsh and romantic then buck the trend this year, pick up some reasonably priced red roses and sweep your other half off their feet today (Wednesday) on St Dwynwen’s Day.
St Dwynwen (Santes Dwynwen) was a fourth century Welsh princess who lived in what is now the Brecon Beacons National Park. Dwynwen was rather unlucky in love, so she became a nun and prayed for true lovers to have better luck than she did
According to the story, Dwynwen was the prettiest of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters.
She fell in love with a local lad called Maelon Dafodrill, but King Brychan had already arranged for her to marry another prince.
Maelon took the news badly, so the distraught Dwynwen fled to the woods to weep, and begged God to help her.
She was visited by an angel who gave her a sweet potion to help her forget Maelon, which happened to turn him into a block of ice.
God then granted Dwynwen three wishes. Her first wish was that Maelon be thawed; her second wish was for God to help all true lovers; her third wish was that she would never marry.
In gratitude, Dwynwen became a nun and set up a convent on Llanddwyn Island, a beautiful little spot on Anglesey. Her name means, ‘she who leads a blessed life’.
Incidentally, as well as being the Welsh patron saint of lovers, she’s also the patron saint of sick animals. So if your budgie is unwell, you could try praying to St Dwynwen before calling the vet (we aren’t making any promises, though).
In Wales St Dwynwen’s Day (or Dydd Santes Dwynwen in Welsh) is celebrated every year on January 25.
Just like on Valentine’s Day, ardent lovers take advantage of the most romatic day of the year to exchange cards and gifts, take time out, have special meals with our loved ones... some may go as far as to take long walks on deserted beaches, carve lovespoons, cwtsh up in front of a roaring log fire and all that romantic fuzziness.
While not everyone has abandoned St Valentine for St Dwynwen her special day is becoming increasingly popular, especially among Welsh speakers.
You don’t have to be Welsh-speaking (or even Welsh) to join in the love-fest and maybe surprise your loved one with a special St Dwynwen’s Day treat – like a weekend of Welsh passion at one of these wildly romantic hotels, or a lovesome twosome at one of these amorous hot-spots.
For the ultimate amatory adventure, make a pilgrimage to St Dwynwen’s Church at Llanddwyn Island on Anglesey said to be one of the most beautiful and romantic spots in Wales.
You’ll find it on the southwest corner of Anglesey, just beyond the village of Newborough.
Just a short walk out onto the headlandwill bring you to the picturesque ruins of St Dwynwen’s Church. This is built on the site of the nunnery she founded in the 5th century, and she’s said to be buried here.
There are several wells and springs on the island, including Merddyn Cil (Merlin’s Well) and Ffynnon Dafaden (whose waters are said to cure warts – which isn’t very romantic, admittedly).
Most importantly for lovers, there’s Dwynwen’s Well, which is said to be home to eels who can predict whether your relationship is going to be a success.
For more about St Dywnwen head to the VisitWales website.